First - they are blue! I have never seen blue postcards like this. They were created using the cyanotype photo process - like blueprints. This process dates from the 1840s and was popular for photographs, and hence postcards, between 1890 and 1910. *
Second, they both have Bethlehem connections - sort of.
Consider the cows.
Bethlehem and dairy farming go way back. There's a quote from over 200 years ago that describes Bethlehem as being "very fruitful of pasture and having great quantities of excellent butter." So the blue cows caught my eye. Flipping the card over, I found that it was postmarked June 1906 and sent to Miss. E. J. Twitchell, Slingerlands. I believe this is Emma Josephine Twitchell daughter of noted Albany artist Asa W. Twitchell.** The Twitchell home on New Scotland Road used to be in Slingerlands - that is Bethlehem - until it was annexed by the city of Albany in 1967.
Consider the Normanskill
What first caught my eye with this card, besides the blue, is the handwritten "Normanskill Creek." The Normanskill is part of Bethlehem's northern border with Albany and the picture certainly looks like it could be our part of the creek. Flipping it over, I note that it is postmarked October 1906 and was sent to Miss Iva Wilber, Delanson, NY. As it turns out, the Normanskill does flow through Delanson - so the only connection to Bethlehem is through the waters of the Normanskill.
If you are curious, here's what the sender, C.J.L, had to say to her cousin Iva.
"Hello, Delanson. Is this you cousin? How is the weather? Oh-no we didn't have any snow yet. Did you hear about our perch on a tandem 75 miles to Colorado Springs? We are off the perch now for a while. Do you belong to the W.C.T.U.? Received D.S. Review today, so we keep tabs on you, see? C.J.L."
The WCTU is the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. The D.S. Review is probably a local Delanson newspaper.
* Check out this article for lots of info about old postcards.
Read more about Asa Twitchell here.